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Teaching Skills to Fasten a Belt - featured September 12, 2011

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Here is a great idea from our friend Barbara Smith, the "Recycling Occupational Therapist,"

[Image: detbottle.JPG]

I have been been trying to think of an activity that would teach the motor skills used to open and/or close a belt. The following idea finally came to me while swimming laps. The pieces are made out of detergent bottles, so totally free and I didn't even have to use Velcro as I thought I might.

First I made a round cut around a large bottle.

Then I continued trimming to make the round shape shown in the picture with the blue round piece.

Cut two slits for insertion. Trim the inserting end so that the part inserted is a bit more narrow than the rest. This will make it easier to see which part gets inserted. Detergent and dishwasher bottles are easy to suspend and incorporate into fine motor activities. This picture shows clips that children can either attach or remove and place inside (depending on their abilities). They can match the pin color to the color of the container. Decide the height of the cord depending on how high you want the child to reach and his or her position. For example, you may want her to stand on tip toes or kneel depending on therapeutic goals. Lower functioning or younger children may simply place objects inside. See if they can place or remove the bottles from the line. The photo below shows where I cut on the bottle to separate the handle in order to hook it over the line. Maybe the kids can do this during a relay race, while on skates, on their bellies (using a low line), with eyes closed, standing on one leg, while on a trampoline....any more ideas?

[Image: belt.JPG]

I added black contact paper to create color contrast.

Inserting the narrow end from the bottom up through the first slit and then down into the second one teaches the motor skills similar (but much easier) to those used in closing a belt buckle.

Once a child learns how to do this motor sequence, it will be easier to add the tricky part of pushing the metal piece (what is that called anyway?) into the hole in the belt.

Taking this apart is much easier than putting together so teach that sequence first. You can present two rings that are already linked together, then ask the child to open, separate and if able close again before inserting onto a ring stack. I plan on trying to incorporate this into the reaching activities I use during hippotherapy so that the clients drop them down a long pole.

[Image: belt2.JPG]

Tags: Tip or Resource of Week OT Newsletter 16 September 2011